Reviews: Review of the series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (Amazon Prime Video)

With a budget of 462 million dollars for 8 episodes (58 million each), to which must be added the 250 million previously invested in the purchase of the rights from the heirs of JRR Tolkien, this series – which already has a second confirmed season and points to no less than 6- is the most expensive in history. The first two installments shot by the Catalan JA Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible, A Monster Comes to See Me, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Society of Snow) give away the promised spectacularity, but at the moment it is hard to find some kind of more intimate and emotional connection.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of PowerUnited States/2022). Showrunners: Patrick McKay and John D. Payne. Direction: JA Bayona (Episodes 1 and 2), Wayne Yip (4 episodes) and Charlotte Brändström (2 episodes). Cast: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen , Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani. Screenplay: Patrick McKay, John D. Payne, Jason Cahill, Justin Double and Gennifer Hutchison. Music: Bear McCreary (8 episodes), based on the stories of JRR Tolkien. Cinematography: Aaron Morton (4 episodes), Alex Disenhof (2 episodes), and Oscar Faura (2 episodes). Editing: Jochen FitzHerbert (2 episodes), Jaume Martí (2 episodes), Bernat Vilaplana (2 episodes), Stefan Grube (1 episode) and Cheryl Potter (1 episode). Suitable for ages 13 and up. Duration: 8 episodes of just over an hour each. The first two available from Friday, September 2 on Amazon Prime Video. Then a new one will be uploaded every Friday.

After the immense critical and, above all, public success of Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, which between 2001 and 2003 grossed almost 3,000 million dollars during its time in theaters alone, Amazon brought out its generous wallet to hit the table in front of Netflix and HBO Max, which these days is also betting heavily with The house of the dragon, prequel to Game of Thrones (The Rings of Power it is also a prequel in its own way).

Although only the first two episodes could be seen at the moment (both filmed by the Barcelonan Bayona), that fourth part of the season allows us to have a fairly pertinent panorama for an initial assessment. Set thousands of years before the events narrated in The Hobbit Y The Lord of the rings, The Rings of Power takes us back to the origins of mythology made up of elves, dwarves, warriors and -of course- the horrendous orcs commanded by the evil Sauron who will take a long time to appear.

The beginning is almost in mirror image with that of the Jackson saga, although -of course- there is no longer the Australian star Cate Blanchett as the elf Galadriel but the rising Swedish actress Morfydd Clark (the revelation of Saint Maud), who will become -very much in tune with these times of female empowerment- the protagonist of a narration that, in any case, never abandons the ensemble and will present us with the misadventures of multiple characters.

Beyond some mysteries (such as a veteran and enigmatic character who literally falls from the sky), the first two hours will give us a little bit of everything: battles, shipwrecks in the middle of storms, journeys in the middle of the snow, duels, monsters and dalliances romantics. All covered in an epic dimension with its panoramic shots, its zenith frames, its bombastic music and its solemn Gregorian choirs.

The series is viewed with interest and even in certain scenes with some fascination in the face of dazzling spectacle, but there is also some visual gloating and emotional coldness that conspires against greater empathy and identification. It is that somehow the multiple achievements of Peter Jackson, which surely encouraged Amazon to return to this universe, also become the main obstacle to the full enjoyment of the series. Because Jackson is a better director than Bayona and something similar happens in the comparison between that cast and this one, which does not have too many particularly notable performers.

So, at least so far, The Rings of Power It comes out as a very tempting package (and when we say package we mean the imposing display of CGI), but as we open the gift we find that there is not so much room for surprise. Hopefully in the next installments, now that we have entered the universe of Middle-earth, the Southlands and the different kingdoms, and we know the main characteristics of the central characters such as the elven king Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker), Elrond (Robert Aramayo, the Ned Stark of game of Thrones), the young Nori (Markella Kavenagh), the dwarf prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), the warrior Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) who is in love with Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), Elendil (Lloyd Owens) and the gallant Halbrand ( Charlie Vickers), who will probably have some rapprochement with Galadriel once they get over their nautical catastrophes, delve into their relationships (and stories and motivations) so that the series is not content with mediocre conflicts that only serve as an excuse to later link in a epic sequence with another.

There’s time? Of course, there are not only 6 episodes left and another 8 of a second season already confirmed, but a planning that already reaches 50! chapters in all. The challenges (read problems and opportunities) of the audiovisual gigantism of these times.

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